There ‘she’ is, like the crazy ex, all dressed up for the show staring back at you. Highly adorned for the celebration of the year! Glistening and lit up! Who is this highly decorated? She ain’t a she, or really even a who…but a what. What? Ok, my ‘coy’ pond is empty here. The description I am making is of your Christmas tree the day after Christmas (I know, a long journey for that right?). This particular December 26th is no ordinary picture of ‘the day after’ though. Sitting on ‘her’ skirt below are beautifully wrapped gifts that create wonder in your mind how they sit there unopened…all the wonder to wonder! Why are these gifts displayed there when all the festivities of life are already over? Was someone in the family sick (highly likely this year!!) or just unable to have Christmas? Any kid might say ‘who leaves gifts there AFTER Christmas!!??’
Would you ever leave a gift unopened around the tree all the way until after the New Year (or February for you procrastinators)? Wouldn’t you kind of at least be tempted to stow that beaut in the closet so you didn’t have to look at it? I am 200 words in and full of questions, ain’t I? All the talk of presents under the tree sent me to 8 year old thinking, which is 90% questions as you know! A parallel analogy can be made of life in general. Have you ever observed someone who seemed to leave their obvious gift unopened (their life potential)? For my thinking, that is seen regularly in sports…ask many a first round drafted athlete who had a short career!! Let’s consider this analogy like a Christmas coloring page of Santa…if you like Senor Saint Nic in a green suit, they are your crayons my friend.
Before the final buttress, consider this final observation. How would you truly feel if it were time to open gifts and they hand you one. You sit there with it in your lap the whole evening but never get to open it. One thing sure, if this is the 8 year old, forget it! That child would be like a Mexican jumping bean! A myriad of emotions would flow through you as you sit there anticipating what could possibly be inside. All the potential of possibilities lying there dormant to be undiscovered. How truly awful that would be! In my life I can think of only a few things sadder than a person sitting through life either unable to open their gift, or not allowed to.
These are the sort of threads I enjoy because it applies to everyone. It is both everyday life and spiritual life. Everyone can find something in this concept. Approaching 50 in a year and a half, there have been many times I felt like my gifts were unrealized, unwanted, or underappreciated. In my personal life that is both career/personal and spiritual. The funny thing about learning is we don’t usually know when we are ignorant (we don’t know what we don’t know!). All that said, let’s begin ‘crayoning the Santa’.
How do we de-pressure life? A wildly large topic to just leap off the bridge into the icy waters with I know, but it is one I have been chewing on for some time. It’s a Wednesday night after Survivor and my wife and I will catch the show called Seal (or Seal team?) before we fade out. It brings me to the point early on here, both shows revolve around pressure in and of themselves. Survivor is the ultimate social pressure game and being special ops military is as we know ‘life altering pressure’. It is plain to me that we all have gifted to us a different level of capabilities in handling pressure naturally. I don’t know about most of you, but this guy already knows if he took his wife on Amazing Race our episode ends with us driving off the cliff after making a tragic wrong turn Thelma and Louise style!!!
If you’ve ever read a single thing I’ve shared, you can probably guess what the other side of the coin is: supernatural! What then is the complex make up of supernatural pressure? I shared in one of the R.W.B. Pearls once about our pressures related to the function of a water heater. The water flows in, it is heated in a tank built for pressurization, and flows on to source out hot water. The main thing you will notice on a standard water heater is the Pressure Relief Valve (I think some call it a T&P also). The pressure from within builds up and basically needs an outlet so the tank doesn’t explode or whatever it would do in failure. The pressure hits a point where it pushes the valve open, but only when that pressure is released.
Our life is similar to that water heater. We are just good ol’ cold water flowin’ chill like the underside of the pillow. We would love to say in this cool state without putting so much hot pressure on us to keep up with all the pressures of life. There are a myriad of pressures: our problems, others problems, our work, our dreams, our attempts to help others, and hello…relationships in general!! The good news is I have found something that has helped me no matter the pressure. There are times I am just wide awake at 2 or 3 in the morning. I can feel when there is pressure going on and what I need to do. I have learned that Jesus wants to take these pressures from me because He has a pressure-less tank! I am able to tell Him my problems, issues, and He gives me peace. Who doesn’t want peace?
This isn’t by any means an easy process! Words cannot describe all I feel at times. There are days I just have to wrestle it out a lot…but if I don’t learn to do that, the pressure just increases. We can all think of someone we know that shows signs of the pressure affecting their lives significantly. If you’ve ever met someone who has faced some serious battles in their lives, how they dealt with (or didn’t) the pressure shaped their path going forward. It all comes to a tipping point: what is your foundation of life set upon? For me personally, I can only see Jesus helping me…I simply can’t see anything else. There are days it takes some time to sort things out, but in that process I learn trust and it leads to peace. I do believe anyone can have the same peace. It doesn’t make thing perfect and off the chain, but it will de-pressurize a lot of the weight you carry.
I do invite you to share what helps you. It’s ok if it’s a little different or you don’t understand Jesus at all (many do not). I know there have been a lot of poor reps for Jesus out there, but I also know Truth is not relative! Thinkin’ this is one of those multi parters my friends. I realized in starting this one it could have went a million directions.
It isn’t very often I free form, pretending I am writing in a journal that no one will see including myself rereading it, but a year ends and waxing poetic calls to me. I am not always quick to ponder the past year, but today I find myself looking back at ol’ ’17 as if to say ‘it’s time for you to go dang it!’
I do see that with more age comes better perspective. Most people may not respond after this years events as I would. Knowing I had to leave a group of friends and getting laid off within weeks of each other. I am surprised how much freer I am after both events. Yes, it took some healing time and willingness for true perspective, but now it is taken care of instead of an open wound. It feels now like I am grateful for it all in spite of it’s harshness, but glad it is finished too! I had to stomp my boots on the rose colored glasses I wore in regards to the old friends and be honest about my old job that it wasn’t near my heart’s desire regardless. I have long believed that God does not bring me to anything that He cannot carry me through.
In 2017 I come away with two big things about God and His nature. 1.) Sometimes I must allow Him to do hard things that are creating my good! 2.) He is truly always good regardless of my perspective at the time. So I realize that losing something that I thought was great for me is Him doing good. I don’t know about you, but I would rather hurt temporarily to avoid a continual cycle of dysfunction!!! I look forward to another year of learning about the relationship between God and myself.
From the ashes of pain comes a heart renewed with God’s hands
We have all been encouraged through the faith (church, sermons, etc) to be givers. Sacrificially, completed, as He leads we should give what He asks. But is there anything more disappointing than giving the best gift you have to someone who is bad at receiving? Be a good receiver in Christ! No one should ever doubt any prayer/encouragement they offered you by your response (or lack of one). There have been times I have had to see what God is up against! I told Him once or twice “God I love you so much, but what the blast is wrong with the people here?!!!!”
The good things of life WILL come with pressure…but in God they also contain peace.
If MY weakness were measured like a fuel tank on a car…MY tank is fullest when I am weakest, because God’s strength is fullest when I am emptiest (most unable to do it in MY own strength)!!
If God fails to seem mysterious, something is wrong!
God brings burdens to us as a sharing of Christs suffering…
so we will pray for the hurting!!